Sarasota, FL, Thursday, July 9, 2015…Sally Sloman has worn several hats during her 90 years, including the organdy cap she wore as a Registered Nurse (RN) in New York and California from 1947 through 2006. Her unselfish commitment to the American Red Cross has earned her numerous pins that she wears with pride on a lanyard around her neck, and two coveted awards in her home: (1) The Clara Barton plaque for meritorious volunteering and (2) the Nurse Assistant Training plaque for outstanding service.
Her nursing career began in 1947, when she graduated from the U.S. Cadet Nursing Program at the Lenox Hill Hospital, a prestigious New York medical and teaching center, where she started working as an RN, her “dream job.”
Vacationing a year later on the New Jersey Shore, Sally volunteered for the Red Cross motor pool—a spur of the moment decision that “was lots of fun”—transporting personnel, blood, and supplies to and from facilities. After a few months, she drove out to California, where she received her nursing license in that state and worked briefly at the Stanford University Medical Center.
Sally has had a long, varied career as an obstetric, school, and geriatric nurse as well as a Red Cross volunteer. These are some of her Red Cross experiences:
- She held a staff position at a blood bank in New York City, where she collected blood for hospitals and the army at local prisons, labor union halls, and other locations. Her responsibilities included ensuring the health of donors and confirming related paperwork
- In North Port, Florida, Sally worked on the Emergency Response Team (ERT), since renamed the Disaster Action Team (DAT), where she assisted during house fires. According to Sally, in her unassuming nature, she did “. . . whatever was necessary, whether it was manning phones, opening a shelter, bringing supplies, or calling nurses and other personnel.” She also updated nurse license information and checked volunteer physical forms. Although prepared—to this day—with bed roll, flashlight, and ice chest, she has never had to respond to an out-of-area disaster.
- Sally has also served as a liaison to the Nurse Assistant Training program, which teaches students how to provide quality care for residents in long-term care facilities. She has inspired these nurses through her commencement speeches. Even more important, because of her geriatric nursing expertise, she has helped the Sarasota Red Cross chapter obtain the necessary grant for instituting the program. To show their appreciation, Sarasota chapter employees call that grant the “Sally Sloman” award.
- Since her retirement from geriatric nursing in 2006, Sally has been answering the phone one afternoon a week at the Sarasota-chapter front office.
“I continue to volunteer with the American Red Cross because I know how much good the organization does in the area (Central Florida Region) and in the world,” said Sally. “I contribute a very, very small amount.”
The American Red Cross is very fortunate that Sally decided almost 70 years ago to drive in one of its motor pools. To this day, she continues to be a vital member of this organization because of her nursing skills and experience, passion in promoting the Red Cross mission, and her untiring desire to improve others’ lives. A model for others—youth through seniors, Sally is a hero bar none, who tells volunteers that the Red Cross is a great organization that has a place for everyone—made great because of volunteers like Sally Sloman.
Written by Sandy Chase, Red Cross Volunteer
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.